Heathrow’s new Terminal 5 is everything a traveller can possibly look forward to
I simply love London with its Gothic architecture, grand museums and beautiful parks. But the dampening factor used to always be the arrivals and the departure. Crowds galore and the frenetic busy feel of Heathrow used to always be like bitter medicine, especially during departure.
Last month, though, I flew British Airways and my entry and exit into the U.K. was through Heathrow Airport’s new Terminal 5. And instead of bitter medicine, this time, my experience was like fine wine thanks to the design, layout and facilities of this new terminal. From a distance, the T5 building looks like a designer glass building. In fact, the glazed walls and roof are not just visually pleasing, they also let in natural light and cut down on the use of artificial lighting, said a bartender at the 5 Tuns pub in the terminal. The eco-friendly designing doesn’t end there. “Do you know that 85 per cent of Terminal 5’s heat is supplied by excess heat produced from the Heathrow heat and power station, piped through an underground tunnel? And that this Terminal stands on land reclaimed from a previous sludge works?” he adds.
Another interesting ‘green’ fact is that 85 per cent of the rainwater hitting Terminal 5 is collected and reused for non-potable uses, reducing demands on the main water supply system by 70 per cent.
Since I had a 10.30 a.m. flight, I had arrived the previous evening and checked into the Sofitel Hotel which is actually connected to Terminal 5 through a walkway. The next morning, since I had already checked in online, I could just walk in and drop my bags at one of the 100 dedicated bag drop desks.
This is when I realised that the powers that be at Heathrow must have realised the kind of weary effect that crowds and cramped spaces must be having on travellers passing through one of the world’s busiest hubs. T5 has been designed to afford travellers space and take the stress out of travel. The calming feel, the hands-on experience, the complete non- existence of being herded like cattle and the elimination of ration shop like queues.
I had some last minute shopping to do and because there is line of sight through the shopping areas from one end to the other, I could blitz through and get exactly what I needed. But for those who love the shopping buzz, there are enough shops to keep you occupied till boarding. Even Harrod’s has a branch here.
Or, else you can relax in one of the many lounges. Both the Club as well as the First Lounges are again designed with a great deal of emphasis on personal space and because there are lounges at both ends of T5, there is no sense of crowding, the soft lighting, soothing colour of the sofas and the Swarovski crystal chandelier all lend to the open spaces design theme.
Collectively, the design and layout of all areas of Terminal 5’s go a long way in making entry and exit into London as classy as the city itself.RISHAD SAAM MEHTA